How to Connect Mobile Internet to Your PC via Tethering

Need an internet connection for your PC or laptop, but don’t have access to public WiFi? The solution is simple: connect your smartphone’s mobile internet connection to your PC. This process is known as tethering.

While tethering with your laptop or tablet may be faster than the public network in your favorite cafe, it can have its own problems. Here’s what you need to know about tethering with Android and how to connect your mobile internet to your PC.

What Is Tethering?

Tethering is the term for connecting your mobile device to your computer, so your PC can get online via your phone’s mobile data connection. It works via USB, Bluetooth, or WiFi.

In the pre-iPhone days, this meant using an old-style feature phone to call a number that gave internet access anywhere. Some cell phones could share their internet connection, enabling you to get online via the device network’s APN.

Following the release of the iPhone in 2007, many cell phone networks began charging extra for tethering plans. Fortunately, this money-grabbing practice has since been phased out almost completely. These days, tethering is usually free aside from using your data allowance.

Android Mobile Tethering Options

Android owners have three tethering options to share a mobile internet connection with their laptop, tablet, or even desktop PC:

  • Connect via Bluetooth
  • Use your phone as a wireless hotspot
  • Connect your phone to your computer via a USB

 

How to Connect Mobile Internet to a PC With a USB Cable

  • Connect the USB cable that you use for charging your phone to your computer, then plug it into the phone’s USB port.
  • Open Settings > Network and internet > Advanced > Hotspot and tethering. You can also tap the notification that appears when you connect the device.
  • Tap the USB tethering slider to enable it. If this appears grayed out, make sure the USB cable is properly connected on both ends.
  • The Hotspot and tethering warning will appear, informing you that continuing will interrupt any existing data transfers between your phone and PC.
  • Tap OK to proceed.

Use Bluetooth Tethering With Mobile Internet

  • Open your Android phone’s Bluetooth settings. You can do this by long-pressing the Bluetooth icon in Quick Settings, or browse to Settings > Connected devices.
  • Select Pair new device, which will make your device discoverable.
  • Now, on your Windows computer, press Win + I to open the Settings app.
  • Here, select Devices > Bluetooth & other devices.
  • Switch Bluetooth to On if it’s not already. Click Add Bluetooth or other device followed by Bluetooth.
  • Select your phone when it appears and walk through the pairing steps.
  • Once paired, on your phone, open Settings > Network and internet > Hotspot and tethering and turn on Bluetooth tethering.

Once the phone is paired with your computer, you can share the mobile internet connection:

  • Expand the Windows System Tray to find the Bluetooth icon, right-click this, and select Join a Personal Area Network.
  • In the resulting menu, find your phone’s icon and right-click it.
  • Choose Connect using > Access point.

How to Connect Your Mobile Internet to a PC Wirelessly

  • Open Settings > Network and Internet > Advanced > Hotspot and tethering.
  • Tap the Wi-Fi hotspot (called Portable hotspot on some phones).
  • At the next screen, switch the slider On.
  • You can then adjust options for the network on this page.
    On some devices, you’ll need to open the Configure hotspot menu to change these options.
  • Tap the Hotspot password (sometimes called Show password) box to view the password, if needed.

Then, on your Windows PC:

  • Press Win + I to open Settings.
  • Go to Network & Internet > Wi-Fi.
  • Click Show available networks and browse to find the network your phone created. (You can also do this by clicking the wireless internet icon in the System Tray).
  • Select the network and click Connect.
  • Input the password displayed on your phone (making any other changes as required) to establish the connection.

Now you know how to connect mobile internet to your computer, using Wi-Fi, USB, or Bluetooth. But which is best?

Our tests show that USB tethering is the option that drains your phone’s battery the slowest. Meanwhile, Bluetooth offers the worst speeds. Thanks to improvements in Bluetooth technology, though, its impact on battery is acceptable.